My Chemical Romance - I’m Not Okay
You like D&D, Audrey Hepburn, Fangoria, Harry Houdini, and croquet. You can’t swim, you can’t dance, and you don’t know karate. Face it. You’re never gonna make it.
(We’re doing this first. I would say “getting it out of the way” but that is a disservice and also wrong, but it is sort of the knee-jerk My Chem word-association-game answer song, so we’re doing this first.)
It is important to name your demons. It is important to put a face on anything you intend to fight.
When My Chem broke up I was on vacation, in DC. I spent a lot of that weekend crying privately, and a lot of it drinking and crying publicly, and several of my friends thought it would be really funny and fun to scream-sing “I’m Not Okay” to me all weekend. This is the song, for a lot of people, that embodies what they don’t like about My Chemical Romance. You know these people. They sing it in a whine, or they pretend they don’t know the words. Don’t be fooled. They know the words, and they hate it, and they hate this song because it was (is) so goddamn important.
Everyone fucking loves it, is the thing. This is why everyone hates “I’m Not Okay.” Because the first time you heard it something inside your heart flipped over, squeezed tight, started beating harder and brighter and louder. Because it made you admit it. I’m not okay. I’m not okay, and it’s not bowed, it’s not beaten, it’s a scream. It’s defiant. I’m not o-fucking-kay and there is no apology. This is a thing I will come back to a lot over the week, but My Chemical Romance is really, really good at making you feel good about being sad, and not in a weird, damaging way that glamorizes it or entrenches it or anything like that. It’s cathartic. It is an exorcism. Name your demons. I’m not okay.
My Chemical Romance has always been about drama - there has always been this element of camp, of ~performance~ in a sense that goes beyond just physically performing, in everything they do. Remember, this is a band that literally built themselves on a foundation of saving the world, and I will talk more about that later, but “I’m Not Okay” was a battle cry. Their first single in the mainstream world, and look at this video. “I don’t wanna make it,” Gerard says. “I just wanna-” Guitar. When they were filming, they had planned for him to say “I just wanna rock,” but at the last minute they cut it out. They left it open, left it bare. I just wanna. I can’t tell you how important that is to me, I just wanna. A lot of being depressed, for me, was not wanting things - not wanting anything, regardless of what it was. “I’m Not Okay” gave me I’m not okay but it also gave me I just wanna, it let me leave that sentence unfinished. Sometimes you don’t need to want a thing. Sometimes you don’t know what you want. Sometimes it is enough to be alive, to want in its barest, broadest sense, and to recognize that you are fucked up right now and maybe it’s permanent and maybe it’s not but it is yours and you own it and you can scream it from the rooftops anytime you want. My Chemical Romance will love you for it.
this is the soundtrack to my work, i do all my best writing and makeupping 2 this exact song. this is my feminist anthem